• Proposed budget cuts could affect disabled children

    By: Natalie Pasquarella


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - Some families are worried about proposed budget cuts to a program that helps children with developmental disabilities across the state.

    Channel 9 found out what the cuts mean for families in Mecklenburg County and talked to a mom who said it helped her daughter work through some serious health problems after birth.
    Katie Rue cherishes play time with her 2-year-old daughter Hannah and said physical activity hasn't always been this easy for her.
    Hannah doesn't have all of her limbs and after birth, life was tough.
    "She was sent home with a feeding tube in her belly and a feeding pump,” Rue said. “And so we had a speech therapist come once a week and really work with her, trying to get her feedings on track."
    Rue said she's grateful for the help Hannah received from Mecklenburg County Children's Developmental Services.
    The department provides support services to families with developmental differences.
    "Physical therapy, occupational therapy and what they could kind of give to us, to get her achieving the goals that most kids need to achieve," Rue said.
    But the Rues are upset to hear about the state proposing cuts to the program.
    Director Dr. John Ellis said the cuts amounted to 8 percent last year and 10 percent more could be cut this year:
    "We need all the funds that are currently in the budget in order to provide high quality service to children," Ellis said.
    This week more than 100 parents and children gathered at the General Assembly to speak out about putting North Carolina children first.
    Ellis said while Mecklenburg County hasn't seen a direct impact yet, they might soon one.
    "It will impact services to children and families," Ellis said. “This was so, so helpful for my family, and I know it could help so many others."
    Ellis said he's working to keep county leaders informed on the situation while still creating plans on exactly how his department would handle the cuts.

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